In order to file an asbestos claim, patients must first show that they’ve experienced irreversible damage to their respiratory system, and that asbestos is truly the cause. This requires the expertise of doctors who are specially trained by groups like the International Labour Organisation, or ILO, to identify asbestos-induced illness.
The 2012 International Ban Asbestos Secretariat grant was awarded to Dr. Abhijeet Jadhav, who used the grant to complete his training for the ILO 2000 International Certification of Radiographs of Pneumoconioses. With this education, Jadhav now has the knowledge needed to read the X-rays of patients who potentially have asbestos claims to file.
What do X-rays tell us?
In addition to causing asbestosis, the inhalation of asbestos fibers can drive other life-threatening illnesses, such as malignant mesothelioma and lung cancer – all of which affect the respiratory system. To the untrained observer, some of the symptoms of these diseases, including chest pain and breathing difficulties, are hard to tell apart from each other. This is where chest X-rays come in handy.
Using these radiological scans, trained physicians can more closely examine patients’ bones, hearts and lungs. When it comes to the lungs, X-rays can reveal problems such as collapse, abnormal fluid collection, tumors, malformed blood vessels and scarring. The formation of scar tissue is a distinguishing characteristic of asbestosis, along with coughing, sensations of chest tightness, nail abnormalities and clubbing of the fingers.
IBAS grant recipient makes good use of award
The World Health Organization estimates that 125 million people all over the globe deal with asbestos exposure in the workplace. Many of these individuals are from developing countries, such as India. This is where Jadhav decided to put his ILO training, which he paid for with the IBAS grant, to good use.
For his study, Jadhav interviewed 17 individuals – all of whom were former workers in a factory that manufactured asbestos and cement sheets, and all of whom were asbestosis patients. The research team asked the study participants about their work setting, what they knew concerning the health risks of asbestos exposure and how their conditions affected family life.
The interviews revealed that the subjects didn’t see their sicknesses as a big deal, but this may have something to do with the fact that fatal asbestos-related illnesses can take decades to develop.
Here’s what Jadhav had to say about the study, which was published in the Indian Journal of Occupational & Environmental Medicine:
“It suggests a need of very strong program for prevention of asbestosis with the incorporation of worker awareness and education for safety. The socio-economical status and educational levels of the workers make this floating population more vulnerable for manipulation by the corporates.”
Jadhav said that India also needed a stronger foundation for providing injured workers with rehabilitation and palliative care. Ultimately, though, he concluded that there’s only one real solution for protecting workers: banning the use and production of asbestos around the world.
The partners behind the Kazan, McClain, Abrams, Fernandez, Lyons, Greenwood, Oberman, Satterley & Bosl Foundation couldn’t agree more, and want nothing but the best for our clients and workers everywhere. That’s why we’re proud to support IBAS so that it could help others.